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Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou registers for presidential election

DPP's Tsai Ing-wen to follow suit on November 23: Reports

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Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou registers for presidential election

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Ma Ying-jeou and his running mate Premier Wu Den-yih were the first presidential candidates to register for the January 14 election at the Central Election Commission Monday morning.
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and her running mate Su Jia-chyuan are expected to show up on Wednesday, while People First Party Chairman James Soong and his vice-presidential choice, Lin Ruey-shiung, could pick Thursday or Friday, reports said. Allegations that Lin might still hold United States citizenship and therefore be ineligible to run for election have thrown doubts on that timing.
Ma and Wu visited the CEC at 9 a.m. in the company of up to 200 young campaign workers, most of who waited outside while the candidates filed their documents. When they started shouting slogans in support of Ma, the president asked them to stop in order not to interfere with CEC employees.
The candidates also handed over a check worth NT$15 million (US$495,000) as stipulated by the election law.
Aides said Ma had not chosen the date and time to register for any propitious connotations. The president just wanted to complete the necessary paperwork as soon as possible, reports said.
One of the results of the registration is that from Monday on, the National Security Bureau bears responsibility for guarding the candidates. There was a small scare when a woman ran toward Ma as he left the CEC buildings, but she turned out to be an enthusiastic supporter, the Chinese-language United Evening News said.
The president was also planning to ask for leave so he could launch even more campaign activities, but local papers quoted aides as saying the duration and the timing of that leave had not been decided yet.
The presidential election is held on the same day as nationwide legislative elections on January 14. Recent opinion polls have shown Tsai coming level with Ma at close to 40 percent, while Soong trailed at a distant third around 10 percent.
The three presidential candidates and their three running mates will participate in televised debates on three consecutive Saturdays in December, reports said. Reporters and media representatives will have the opportunity of questioning the candidates of KMT, DPP and PFP on December 3 and 10, while the debate on December 17 will include questions by members of civic groups.
The candidates will also be able to interact during the questioning and to hold international news conferences following the debates, reports said Monday.